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Available today, a new thriller based on a former Scientologist’s experiences

At HowdyCon in Los Angeles, one person we were happy to meet was Stefan Malmström, who had come all the way from Sweden. Today, Stefan’s book Kult is being published by Silvertail Books in London. (And full disclosure, Silvertail is also the publisher of our book about Paulette Cooper, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.)

We wanted to learn more about Stefan and his book, and we asked him about his background in Scientology.

Stefan: I was 17 and had found the purpose of my life, as an athlete in orienteering. I was on the top national level and trained two hours a day, mostly running. Then I met some really nice older people one evening at a party in my hometown, Hässleholm in Sweden. I was really impressed by them and my girlfriend and I started to hang out with them. It turned out that they were all Scientologists. They manipulated me into the church and three years later I became a staff member at the mission in Hässleholm. I quit my sport, stopped seeing my old friends and family, and worked for the church seven days a week. I was lucky to get out five years later, when I was 25 years old.

The Bunker: What sort of pay were you getting on staff?


Stefan: None. We had to have ordinary day jobs. We were all quite young people, from 19 to 30 years old, except for our leader, a 45-year-old Englishman who started the mission in Hässleholm. Many of us worked as substitute teachers in different schools. Every night during the week and all weekend we worked at the mission.

The Bunker: What convinced you to leave that situation?

Stefan: It’s a crazy story. The Englishman, who had worked with L. Ron Hubbard in the 60s on the boats going around in the Mediterranean Sea, handpicked a core group of young Scientologists and introduced us to a plan he had. One night he gathered us and held a lecture in which he told us that it was no coincidence that it was us who sat in the room that night. We had all chosen to be born in this city of a very special reason. We had been a group on a planet near the center of the universe 75 million years ago. And this Englishman had been our leader. Now he knew how we could leave this prison planet. Well, it´s a long story but in summary he wanted to start a secret project with the purpose to escape from planet Earth. I had been a Scientologist for four years. I was clear and had started on OTI, but not OTIII. So I thought this was a bit strange and started to be doubtful. Group dynamics kept me in for a while. But then one day a bunch of uniformed Guardian Office members from Copenhagen arrived. Someone had been informing them of what we were doing. I was lucky because I was not on the premises that day and I fled to another town and dropped out for good in this turbulence. Crazy, right?

The Bunker: Very! So tell us something about the book. You’ve turned your experience in Scientology into a fictional novel?

Stefan: Yes, a couple of months after I blew I started my studies in journalism at a university. I’ve had this idea that I wanted to do something with my story since then. But then life came between; I started a career as a journalist, met my ex-wife, got kids and the years just went by. But five years ago I decided to stop thinking and start doing. So I started to work with the book. I didn’t want to write a traditional defector book for two reasons: I knew that there were many already written and I had read a lot of them. And I wanted to reach young people, since young people are the most vulnerable to this kind of mental virus that all kinds of destructive groups are spreading. Unfortunately not so many young people read books today but the chance to get them to read is greater if it is an exciting story, I thought. And I knew that it would take a long time to write it, and I wanted to have fun when I did the work. I love thrillers myself. I wanted to write a book that I would like to read myself. During my research for the book I wanted to understand what I had been exposed for, and involved in. How on earth could I be manipulated in to such a crazy cult? How did it happen? What were the mechanisms in play? So I started to do some research; read scientific papers focusing on how these processes works, how radicalization looks like, etc. As I said, I found out that young people are targeted by all types of destructive groups. I decided that I also want to lecture for young people. I do that quite a lot in schools in Sweden, targeting young people, 18 to 19 years old. My plan is to write a trilogy with the same characters. Right now I am working on the sequel.

The Bunker: And is Scientology named in the book, or did you use a fictional name?

Stefan: I use Scientology all the way. Just as it was in reality.

The Bunker: Fascinating. We wish you luck with the book.


[Stefan Malmström]

The publisher’s description of ‘Kult’: When a four-year-old girl and her father are found dead in the Swedish city of Karlskrona, the police quickly conclude it was a murder-suicide, a tragedy requiring no further investigation. But Luke Bergmann, a reformed criminal still haunted by his violent past, believes they are wrong. The dead man, Viktor, was his best friend, and Luke knows he would never commit such a horrific crime. When more bodies turn up, Luke is certain the same killer has struck again. Alone, he embarks on an investigation which reaches back through decades to his friend’s involvement with a sinister cult and dark secrets are exposed as Luke struggles to keep his own long-buried demons hidden away. And when Luke finds himself in a killer’s sights, his search for the truth becomes the fight of his life. Can Luke get justice for Viktor and his daughter and prove his best friend was not a murderer, or will the shadows of the past overwhelm him?


Bonus items from our tipsters

Nancy Cartwright is excited that her art is being used by a new group she co-founded, “Know More About Drugs,” that just happens to have a lot of things in common with some of Scientology’s front groups. Her caption: “This was taken in front of the Wilshire Grand Hotel! YES, that is my art and it is 3 STORIES HIGH!!!”


Meanwhile, in Canada…


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Scientology’s Colombia strategy becomes clear: It’s total war
[TWO years ago] Missouri school district boots sneaky Scientology front group after Underground Bunker article
[THREE years ago] As Scientology declines, its members are even giving up on their spooky super powers
[FOUR years ago] Jon Atack: The mystery of mysteries that all Scientologists chase — and can never find
[FIVE years ago] Angry Gay Pope loses ownership of ‘’ to … Kendrick Moxon
[SIX years ago] THE MARTY RATHBUN AFFIDAVIT: Scientology Leader David Miscavige Lied To Texas Court
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology and ‘The Master’
[EIGHT years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 12: Tommy Davis


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,559 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,688 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,192 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,712 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 732 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 623 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,930 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,798 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,572 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,346 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,692 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,258 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,177 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,345 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,926 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,187 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,226 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,938 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,464 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 990 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,553 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,693 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,013 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,869 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,988 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,343 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,646 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,752 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,154 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,026 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,609 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,104 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,358 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,467 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 5, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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